|Chap 40-48 Timeline||
Ezekiel: Chapter 44
The temple is a very important as the meeting place between the Lord and His people Israel. The various temples that have been, or will be, in Israel's history are shown the following table.
The first four temples have already existed, and the final three, in the yellow fields, have yet to be constructed. The third and fourth temple are actually one in the same. When Ezra led the first wave of exiles from Babylon to return to their land, he led the effort through the Lord's leading, to rebuild the temple. Unlike the tabernacle or King Solomon's dedication of the first temple, the Lord's glory was not evident to the people in Ezra's day. At that time, the Lord was with them as shown in the writings of the prophets.
A distinction is drawn between Ezra's and Herod's temple to draw attention to the Gentile influence over Israel and the temple as its center of worship. Herod, a Gentile, constructed an elegant temple that was built over Ezra's original structure. It was Herod's influence on the temple that gave its appearance during they days of Rome's occupation and rule over Israel. The magnificence of the temple and its grounds during the days of Jesus's first earthly ministry, was commented on by His disciples, giving segue to the Lord to begin his teaching on the end-times in the Olivet Discourse in the gospel according to Matthew, Mark and Luke, see the discussion on this site on the Olivet Discourse. The importance of making a distinction of the Herod's influence over the temple's appearance and outward design, is not that he used this capitol improvement plan to control the Jewish leaders in his day, but it also represented the Gentile's influence over the affairs of Israel in every aspect of their lives. This era over Israel will continue until the days of the Gentiles are fulfilled, as spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, Luke 21:24, (see the page on this site concerning the times of the Gentiles and the fig tree).
The passages cited on this site for Ezekiel 40-48 concern the future millennial temple shown above. At that time, it is the Lord who will be ruling over the affairs of the entire world for 1,000 years. The Lord's reign and His temple will occur following the seven years of tribulation. As a result of God's judgment and wrath over the world, and its conclusion at the battle of Armageddon, several items of interest that impact the temple:
The millennial temple also marks the two advents of the Lord's appearance in this world, among His people Israel.
Christís first advent
Christís second advent
Further attributions of Christís reign
A list of attribution concerning the Lordís reign is further highlighted in Psalms 72 concerning His:
In Ezekiel 44:1-3, the bronze man takes Ezekiel to the east gate between the inner and outer court. Recall that in Ezekiel 43:5, Ezekiel was lifted into the inner court from the outer court by the Holy Spirit; he did not enter into the inner court via a gate. In this chapter, Ezekiel is again lifted into the outer court near the eastern gate that exits the temple area. Ezekiel observes that the door at this gate is shut. The Lord then spoke to Ezekiel from inside the temple, saying that the gate is to remain shut because the Lord had entered through it. Only the prince may sit inside the portico to eat in the presence of the Lord. Whenever the prince appears to make an offering to the Lord, upon completion of the meal, the prince is to exit through the same gates that he entered through to sit before the Lord.
The identification of the prince has been the focus of many debates. One obvious candidate for the prince is King David, who will be resurrected in the land that was promised by God to Abraham, and confirmed to Isaac and Jacob. David is identified as a prince among the children of Israel during the millennial reign of Christ, Ezekiel 34:23-24. There is an interesting intersection with the prince and what Jesus said concerning the twelve apostles, who were told that they would judge the 12 tribes of Israel, Matthew 19:28-30. It is not stated how this will occur, but the administrative structure of that day, the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, will consist with a prince in his natural state, possibly David in his resurrected eternal body, and the resurrected church who will rule and reign with Christ, in addition to the 12 disciples. This is discussed in this site on Matthew 25, and the constituents are identified on Matthew 25 timelines. Considering the existence of the two categories of peoples, those with their resurrected bodies, and those still in their physical state, it is very likely that David is one of two princes, and he will reign over the resurrected Old Testament saints. The other prince being the one who is the representative of those in their physical state.
In Ezekiel 44:4-5, Ezekiel is taken to the north gate in the inner court. There Ezekiel observed the glory of the Lord filling the temple, and in response, he fell upon his face. The Lord spoke to him from the temple, and charged Ezekiel to pay very close attention to see and listen to everything that the Lord will reveal concerning the regulations regarding the temple of the Lord. He is also to pay attention to the entrance of the temple and all the exits to the sanctuary.
The events recorded in Ezekiel 43 and Ezekiel 44 reveal that the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ is established according to the order of Melchizedek as revealed in scripture. Melchizedek, who was both a priest and king, first appeared in scripture in Genesis 14:18-20. He gave bread and wine (representative of the communion looking forward to Christís work on the cross) to Abram upon his return from battle to free Lot from his captors.
Psalm 110 shows that the Lord Jesus Christ is being given dominion as King by the Father. Psalm 110:1-3 shows the Lord conquering His enemies. Psalm 110:4 shows the Lord being identified as a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. In Hebrews, it is written that unlike the priestly reign of man through the tribe of Levi continued until that priestís death, Christís priestly duties are eternal since there is no more death, and the Lord is that priest after the order of Melchizedek, Hebrews 7:13-17, and Hebrews 7:24-28.
In Ezekiel 44:6-9, the sins of Israel are reviewed against the house of the Lord. Israel is to cease with her detestable practices. In her history, Israel brought foreigners, the uncircumcised in heart, and flesh into Godís sanctuary. Even after the first two conquests of King Nebuchadnezzar against Judah and Jerusalem, and many of the captives (including Daniel and Ezekiel), remained in the land and desecrated Godís temple. At the same time they were giving offerings to the Lord of food, fat and blood sacrifices, breaking Godís covenant with them, Ezekiel 14:1-5. Instead of carrying out their duty to the holy things of God, they hired it out to others. Even after the return of Israel into the land of Israel, their hearts had not changed totally toward the Lord. Nehemiah observed these very acts, in defiance of what was written here in Ezekiel, Nehemiah 13:4-9. The Lord states that His millennial temple will not be desecrated, and that even foreigners, who live among the Israelites, will not be allowed into the Godís sanctuary if they are uncircumcised in heart and flesh, Exodus 12:48-49, and Jeremiah 9:25-26
In Ezekiel 44:10-14, the sins of the Levite's are reviewed against the house of the Lord. Aaron and his sons were tasked by God to distinguish between the holy and common, the unclean and the clean, and to teach the house of Israel all the decrees the Lord had given them through Moses, Leviticus 10:8-11. The consequences that the Levites suffered for not fulfilling what the Lord tasked them to do were:
The situation of the Levites is applicable to todayís Christian. The positional distinction of the line of Zadok relative to the rest of the tribe of Levi, can be correlated with the rewards that Christians are promised as we appear before Christ, after the rapture of the Church, Colossians 3:23-24, 1Corinthians 3:12-15, 2Corinthians 5:6-10. Teachers of the law in Christís days were warned by Him for the ill practices toward the people that they exercised, Luke 20:46-47. Similarly, preachers and teachers of the Lord will be judged more strictly than others, James 3:1. Not only is there the warning to the preachers and teachers, the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ have been warned on numerous occasions in the New Testament to be aware of false teachers, 2John 1:7-11. They also share in the responsibility to evaluate and check the information presented by visiting teachers, such as the Bereans did with Paul when he appeared among them after being forced out of Thessalonica, Acts 17:10-12.
In Ezekiel 44:15-16, it is noteworthy that God calls out a family of the tribe of Levi who will serve as the priests to minister unto the Lord who are from the line of Zadok. They do not serve as high priest, nor does anyone else since the Lord is the High Priest. To explore the reason for this segregation requires looking back during the time of King Solomon. At that time, one of the two lines of priests to minister before the Lord was removed from that service. During a revolt against King Solomon, a line of priests were not faithful to the king concerning his right to ascend to the throne of David. The decision of King Solomon against one of the family lines of Levi fulfilled the prophecy given generations earlier to Eli. To aptly cover this situation requires a review of Israel's history, back to the days of the judges in the land of Israel, and it will take a moment to develop the picture.
Because the house of Eli had become so corrupt and Eli would not correct his sons, the Lord came against Eli and his family line. The Lord sent a man of God to Eli, and swore that the house of Eli would not partake of the future priestly office for the sins of his house, 1Samuel 2:27-30, 1Samuel 2:35-36.
Some time passed before all that was prophesied came true, but the evidence of this prophecy taking affect upon Eliís line was evident during King Davidís reign as seen in the decline in the numbers of descendants. The initial evidence occurred when King David prepared to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem a second time, following the strict laws of God. The king called both priests Zadok and Abiathar and ordered them to sanctify themselves in preparation to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the city, in accordance with the Laws of Moses, 1Chronicles 15:11-14. Afterwards, King David distributed the duties of the priests, and it was discovered that the sons of Eleazar, from whom Zadok came from, outnumbered the sons of Ithamar who with Eleazar were the sons of Aaron, 1Chronicles 24:1-5.
Much later in time, there was rebellion against King Solomon by his brother Adonijah, in an attempt to prevent him from taking the throne of David his father. Scripture records the final fulfillment of this prophesy against Eli and his family line. Following this failed attempt to revolt against King Solomon, the priest Abiathar, of the line of Eli, was removed from his priestly office, 1 Kings 2:23-27, never to serve in that capacity again. So the Lord has fulfilled His word by placing the seed of Zadok to be the priests out of the line of Levi, to serve before the Lord.
In Ezekiel 44:17-31, This chapter ends with a number of rules that will govern the activities and behaviors of the priests that minister unto the Lord. The Lord is Holy, and all that surrounds Him will be holy, yet sin will be in the world and it will be reckoned with. The priests who minister and approach the Lord must do so in strict obedience to the Word.
Copyright (c) 2001, 2005, 2008, 2014, J.E. Huntley. All rights reserved.
last edited August 2014